Bali is probably the most famous island in Indonesia, which can be explored by foot, taxi, scooter, boat or airplane. During our trip we have used both the taxi and the scooter. Below you can read about the good and the bad of both vehicles, based on our experience.
Renting a taxi for a full day will cost you between 450.000 – 550.000 rupiah if you are located in Kuta. You can find cheaper drivers in Ubud. In our case we paid 500.000 rupiah for a taxi from 8:15am till 7:00pm. When you make a deal with a taxi driver, make sure parking fee is included in the price.
Finding the right taxi driver in Bali isn’t as easy as it sounds like. We talked to many drivers and chose one that looked kind, professional, spoke decent English and promised us the longest day. Unfortunately our judgment turned out to be wrong.
Our driver promised us to show us the tradition Barong Dance show, some handcrafting, a Luwak Coffee farm, the Ubud temple, the Goa Gajah temple, the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, the Madu Sari Mountain and a beautiful waterfall where we can swim. He told us everything is free, except the Barong Dance. Parking fee is also included in the price.
At 8:00am in the morning the driver already showed up at our accommodation. Unfortunately he told us he felt a bit sick so he couldn’t be our driver today. Luckely for us he brought another driver “who could speak better English than him“. We started our tour and found out that our driver is very quite. So his English might be better, but that doesn’t really matter if he has nothing to tell.
Arriving at our first stop “the Barong Dance” we expected to see some interesting and impressive traditional dances. Especially since we had to pay 100.000 rupiah per person. However at the end of the show we left disappointed. There is very little dance and it looks unprofessional. It is more of a theatre show with a lot of childish d*** jokes. Which is not something we would ever pay for if we had known this before.
Luckily we enjoyed our next few stops, which included the coffee luwak farm, the Ubud temple and the Goa Gajah temple. At the Luwak farm you can taste a lot of different coffee and thea flavours, all for free. The temples are also very beautifull and we advice you to go to both of them. Unfortunately our fun stopped here.
Our next stop was the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. Which was something we were looking forward to a lot. Arriving there it turned out we had to pay 10.000 rupiah per person. We paid the “entrance ticket”, but we were a bit surprised because the driver promised us that everything was free after the Barong Dance. At the entrance of the rice terrace you are welcomed with a beautifull view. We tried to find someone to show our “entrance ticket”, but we couldn’t find anyone and just walked in. After a short walk someone stopped us and told us we had to pay because we were walking on “his part” of the rice field. We showed him our ticket and told him we already paid for the entrance. He said there is no entrance ticket and that we have to pay him. We decided not to pay him and to walk to the other side of the rice terrace.
Not much later someone else stopped us and told us again that we should pay them if we would like to see “their” area of the rice terrace. Again we walked to another area and decided to ask some tourists if they pay to see every area. They said you should just ignore the locals and continue walking, because they just try to take your money. They also told us that they didn’t have to buy any entrance ticket. We asked some locals and they also told us that there is no entrance ticket for the rice terrace.
Feeling pretty annoyed we walked back to the taxi and asked him why we bought the ticket. He told us again that it is an “entrance ticket”. We started to argue about the fact that an entrance ticket for the rice field doesn’t even exist. We don’t mind paying a small entrance fee, but we felt a bit misled/scammed because the day before the driver told us entrance was free and nobody else is buying any entrance ticket.
During the awkward silent drive to the next stop, the Madu Sari Mountain, we found out that we should pay 35.000 rupiah per person for another entrance ticket. We were getting even more annoyed, but we decided to pay because this was also something we really liked to see. After paying he just parkes somewhere next to the road where you could enjoy a nice view of the mountain. Thats it, no explanation, no short scenic drive, nothing. You just pay 35.000 rupiah to stop the car next to the road.
After driving back he told us there was no more time to see our final destination, the waterfall where we could swim. Great more bad news….. After pushing the driver to show us something else as a compensation, he decided to drop us of at UC Silver Bali where you can see how they make silver and golden jewelry. Going inside the impressively decorated builing the people inside told us we could only visit the store, because they already closed the first floor where they make all the jewelry.
Even though the building and the jewelry looked nice, we came there to see how they make the juwelry. So agian this was a bit disappointing. At the end of the silent ride back home he could only say two words. “Pay now.” We paid him, without any tip, and got out of the car.
Our experience tells us that you can not trust the taxi drivers in Bali. Of course there are many good taxi drivers, but don’t always believe what they promise. On the other hand, if you have a big budget and don’t mind to see just 2 or 3 things on one day and 2 or 3 things on another day you probably don’t mind.
On Bali we also rented a scooter for one full dat. We paid 65.000 rupiah, but you can find even cheaper scooters. We thought it might be a bit dangerous on the streets in Bali, but everyone is driving slowly and you get used to the chaotic traffic very quick.
Driving a scooter is way more adventurous than going somewhere with a taxi, which is something we enjoyed a lot. During the day we decided to stop at the Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, Jimbaran Beach and Nusa Dua Beach.
Uluwatu is known for its impressive ocean views, surf waves, monkeys and the Pura Luhur Hindu Temple. Before you enter the temple you should hire a Sarong to cover your legs, which cost 20.000 rupiah. The view from the temple is amazing, but there are less monkeys than a couple of years ago. The locals have removed a lot of them because they can be aggressive.
We didn’t have time to visit Jimbaran beach, but Nusa Dua is a great tourist beach. There are some nice restaurants next to the beach and there is security at the parking lot. The water isn’t the cleanest because of the seaweed and some floating bags, but in our opinion it is one of the better beaches on Bali.
We have read on the internet that you should always wear your helmet and have an international driver license because the police will wait next to the road to stop foreigners, hoping they can find anything wrong so they can give you a “tourist fine”. The fine is always different because they will just make up a random number.
We advice you to bring very little cash or hide most of your cash. Because the more money you have in your wallet, the more you will have to pay when they find out you don’t have an international driver license. So when you bring 1.000.000 rupiah and they find out you don’t have the correct papers, your fine will probably be 1.000.000 rupiah.
We knew about this “scam” so we decided to bring only 50.000 rupiah in our wallet and hide everything else. We did get stopped by the police and prepared for the worse. Luckily I had all the correct papers and we didn’t have to pay any fine.
We went to the gas station only once and paid 28.000 rupiah. At some beaches and places in the city you might need to pay 1000 till 10.000 rupiah for parking, but in total we spend no more than $8 for a full day use of the scooter. Which is pretty good in our opinion.
So if you go to Bali and feel comfortable on a scooter, this is a must-do during your holiday. Because it is very cheap you could easily rent a scooter for a full week.